12 Answers To Your Questions: Leveling Kit Vs Lift Kit

lift kits vs leveling kits

Introduction

Both a Lift Kit and a Leveling Kit are designed to raise the ride height of a vehicle to fit larger tires and to possibly increase the overall ground clearance of your vehicle, but let’s dive a little deeper into each kit, what they are used for and how they affect your vehicle.


What is a Lift Kit?

what is a lift kit

A Lift Kit is an aftermarket body modification designed to raise your vehicles ride height and possibly it’s ground Clearance. There are two types of Lift Kits: Body Lift Kit and Suspension Lift Kit.

A Body Lift Kit will raise your vehicle’s ride height between 1-3 inches, without altering the original suspension geometry of your vehicle; this is accomplished by lifting the body of the vehicle and installing blocks or spacers between the body and frame.

A Suspension Lift Kit is designed to increase a vehicle’s ground clearance and articulation. There are a few different types of Suspension Lift Kits, each one with varying benefits to best suit your vehicle’s needs. Spring Over Axle Suspension, Torsion Keys, Shackle Reverse, Suspension Lift Kits, Shackle Suspension Lift Kits and Lifted Spring Suspension Kits.

What is a Leveling Kit?

what is a leveling kit

A Leveling Kit is basically a suspension lift for the front of your vehicle to fix the rake. Most trucks/SUV’s come from the factory with a ‘raked’ stance, this just means that the rear of the truck sits slightly higher than the front, which helps prevent bottoming out in the rear with heavy loads. A Leveling Kit can also offset the weight of a heavy winch or plow in the front of your vehicle; giving you added height and larger turning radius. Leveling Kits also come in a variety, Leaf Spring Blocks, Strut Extensions, and Coil Spacers


What Does a Lift Kit & Leveling Kit Do?

KITS Asthetics Increased Ground Clearance Increased Ride Hight Better Articulation Bigger Tires Fix ‘Rake’ Wheel Well Space Add a Winch/Plow
Lift Kit ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Leveling Kit ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️

Frequently Asked Questions

added ground clearance

Before & After Leveling Kit

raked jeep

Lifted Jeep W/ Reverse Rake

Does a Lift or Leveling Kit affect Ground Clearance?

Whether you’re off-roading, going down the road or going through the pasture with a heavy load, a higher clearance will allow you to haul and tow without damaging your suspension, drivetrain, and other components under your vehicle.

*With Suspension lifts the sky is the limit, you can obtain the most clearance with these.
*A Leveling Kit will give you about 3 inches of added ground clearance in the front of your vehicle.
*A Body Lift only raises your ride height and doesn’t directly affect ground clearance.

How much do Lift/Leveling Kits Cost?

A Body Lift and a Leveling Kit allow you to keep all stock parts and are fairly simple to install, keeping overall costs down. A Body Lift can run anywhere between $100-$750 and Leveling Kit can run anywhere between $30-$500, all depending on vehicle type and lift height.

Suspension Lifts, may require you to replace additional parts on your vehicle, such as brake lines, shocks, and tires depending on how high you go and the type of kit used. The kit itself will run you anywhere between $300-$2,500.


Can I Install a Lift/Leveling Kit Myself?

It’s not impossible to DIY these kits, in fact most manufacturers send detailed instructions to aid in the installation process, and each kit has its own difficulty level, ranging from “I can do this over the weekend” to, “maybe I should go to a mechanic.”

Leveling- Easy

A Leveling Kit is relatively simple compared to its counterparts. For this install all you’re going to need are a few wrenches and a hammer.

Body- Moderate

Body lifts can be very time-consuming because you have to lift the whole frame. Additionally, these kit may require you to add a few new notches, some trimming and maybe even some welding.

Suspension- Expert

Suspension lifts can be as easy as adding a spacer to a strut or as extreme as removing the differential & driveshaft and then cutting the frame and trimming a few parts.


jeep with suspension lift

Can I install Larger Tires With a Lift/Leveling Kit?

Each one of these kits will allow you to upgrade to a larger set of tires. How big, you ask? Well that all depends on just how high you choose to lift your vehicle, but we can give you a pretty good idea:

A 2″ Body Lift or Leveling Kit will typically give you enough room for 3-4″ increase in tire size and a 3″ Body Lift could give you enough room for up to 35″ tires! If your suspension lift is tall enough, then you can just go down your local tire shop and order the biggest set of tires they make. We’re talking monster truck big.

Can you Install a Lift and Leveling Kit together?

Installing a Leveling Kit is a prime time to add a lift to your vehicle and many Body Lift Kits include components to level the front as well as lift the rear suspension. Another popular form of lifting is to combine Leveling Kit and Body Kit; this gives you the benefits of a Suspension Lift without having to actually alter your suspension, and at a fraction of the cost.

Will adding a Lift/Leveling Kit affect my Warranty?

Suspension Lifts may void your vehicle’s warranty, depending on where you live and how high you choose to go. A Leveling Kit more than likely won’t affect your warranty, but it never hurts to check your warranty information before installing any body modification.


suspension lift installation

Will adding a Lift or Leveling Kit affect my Ride?

In most cases yes, they will affect your ride, sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it makes you second guess how high you really want to go. For instance, Some Suspension Lifts will provide your vehicle with better articulation, traction, and more camber. However, the higher you lift your vehicle the higher its center of gravity gets. A higher center of gravity increases your vehicle’s chance of body roll and could cause loss of traction during turns.

Body lifts may not offer any performance advantages but their fiberglass-reinforced nylon body blocks maintain a smooth and quiet ride. A Leveling Kit can improve ride quality/ comfort and can give your vehicle excellent articulation.

Does adding a Lift or Leveling Kit affect my Suspension Wear?

Depending on how high you lift your vehicle you may be replacing suspension components like ball joints sooner than anticipated due to the added stress the lift will put on them (This is primarily an issue with Suspension Lifts).


Parting Knowledge

Just to recap a Lift Kit such as a Body Lift or a Suspension Lift is an after-market body modification designed to raise your vehicles ride height and possibly it’s ground Clearance. And a Leveling Kit is basically a suspension lift for the front of your vehicle designed to fix the rake. Each of these kits can be used for different things from better articulation to bigger tires to increased ground clearance.

Whether you’re looking to give your Jeep that little extra edge out on the road, wanting to upgrade your rock crawler to take on some next level trails, or just want to level out your work truck, we hope we’ve equipped you with the knowledge needed to make the choice between a lift kit or a leveling kit, or at least given you some nice pictures to look at.

Want to learn more about body lifts and suspension lifts? Check out our Body Lift Vs. Suspension Lift post!

lifted truck
7 comments
  1. Brit
    Brit
    August 27, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Could you double up the body lift (Two 3″ kits) and still maintain a stable ride?

    Reply
    • Krissy Rose
      Krissy Rose • Post Author •
      August 27, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      Hey Brit,

      Great question! It is possible to stack body lifts on top of each other however, it is unsafe. Since you will need to purchase longer bolts from a third party the bolts could start to move, potentially causing harm to your vehicle and even you. This being said it is very common to stack a body lift and a leveling kit, in fact, Daystar sells many of these combo kits. These kits are great because they are less expensive than a suspension kit but give you a little extra height than just a singular kit would.

      Now if you’re just looking to get a 6-inch lift or higher, I would suggest a suspension lift kit, these kits are going to be the safest choice for such a high lift. The big differences between a body lift and a suspension lift are ground clearance and price; a suspension lift offers more ground clearance but is higher, and a body lift is cheaper but doesn’t offer any additional ground clearance. Another option would be to combine a body lift kit and a suspension lift kit to obtain the best of both worlds with optimal ground clearance, articulated suspension and lower center of gravity than a straight suspension lift. Additionally, you might need to check with the regulations/restrictions of your state on lift kits because some have a height limit for those daily drivers.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
      • Brit
        Brit
        October 12, 2018 at 11:41 am

        Thank you so much Krissy for the detailed reply! This helps a bunch on my future project planning.

        Reply
  2. John Banister
    John Banister
    July 15, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks for posting this information – cleared up some confusion I had about lift versus level. I am trying to beef up my 2017 Ford Explorer for off road, the factory ground clearance, especially the front end is stupidly low. J.

    Reply
    • Krissy Rose
      Krissy Rose • Post Author •
      July 16, 2020 at 10:39 am

      Glad we could help John!

      If you ever have any questions about different lifting or leveling options or really any other questions about mods or parts for any of your vehicles we’d be happy to talk with you about it.

      Reply
  3. James
    James
    July 28, 2020 at 11:00 am

    I got a 6″ Rough Country lift put on my truck. I love it but it does ride a bit rough on bumpy roads. I was wondering if I can add something to the existing set up to soften the ride a bit?

    Reply
    • Josh Daniels
      Josh Daniels
      July 29, 2020 at 1:12 pm

      Hey James,

      There are a few things you can try but with a 6″ lift you’re never going to get the ride back to what it was before. The center of gravity has been raised quite a bit and that is going to affect ride quality. It’s just the trade off you make for more ground clearance.

      First and easiest suggestion is to run a little less Psi in your tires as long as you keep them above max load. This can soften the ride a little and might be enough for your taste.

      Beyond that you’re looking at different shocks or springs and this decision should be based on your designs for the truck. Are you off roading heavily or do you spend most of your time on black top? Do you value a smoother ride over performance handling? There are shocks and springs for different driving styles or you can use adjustable shocks to stiffen or smooth out the ride based on what type of driving you’re planning on doing.

      Like we said at the beginning, you’re not going to achieve the smoothness of your pre-lift truck but these things can soften it a bit.

      If you have more questions about what is available for your specific make and model you can contact our customer support folks through chat, email, or phone.

      Thanks for the question James and good luck.

      Reply

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